A day after skipping a key party meeting apparently to display his displeasure over an appointment made by BJP President Rajnath Singh,party general secretary Arun Jaitley attended an event at the party headquarters where L K Advani and Singh were present.
Jaitley arrived late to the event where Advani unveiled the party’s IT vision and shared the dias with party president Singh.
The BJP general secretary is sulking over the appointment of Sudhanshu Mittal,a businessman,as co-convener of North-East Affairs,over which he has strong reservations.
Sources said by not attending the party’s Central Election Committee meeting to finalise Lok Sabha candidates for various states on Friday,Jaitley was letting known his displeasure.
Mittal himself told reporters today that he did not feel that Jaitley would be opposed to his appointment and that he was also in the party for long.
Confirming that Jaitley “had raised an issue”,senior leader M Venkiah Naidu,however,sought to downplay the matter saying that it was being sorted out. He said in Bangalore that Jaitley had attended a series of meetings at Advani’s house on Friday.
The eminent lawyer,who is head of the party’s Election Management Committee,went about his work as usual yesterday instead of attending the CEC meeting chaired by Rajnath Singh.
However,later Jaitley attended the luncheon meeting with JD (U) leader Nitish Kumar at Advani’s residence where NDA acting convener Sharad Yadav was also present. This virtual challenge to Rajnath,who appointed Mittal,has come at a crucial juncture when the BJP is reeling under the crisis stemming from the break-up of the alliance with BJD in Orissa.
Joshi denies any problem between Jaitley and Rajnath
Senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi said on Saturday that there was “no problem” between party president Rajnath Singh and Election Management Committee chief Arun Jaitley.
“There is no problem between Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitley,” Joshi replied when asked about the rift between the two leading BJP functionaries.
Yesterday,Jaitley,apparently to express dissatisfaction over the appointment of businessman Sudhangsu Mittal as in-charge of Assam and the North-East,had stayed away from the central election committee meeting of BJP chaired by Rajnath Singh.
Claiming that the NDA would come to power with a clear majority,he said that although BJP and BJD had just split,there were others which had joined the party like Chautala and Ajit Singh.
Joshi,speaking at the Indian Chamber of Commerce in Kolkata said while the BJP was tasting success in various state elections,the Congress was losing everywhere. On the Third Front,Joshi quipped “it is already third.”
The BJP leader also said that construction of the Ram temple would be included in the party’s manifesto.